Some features of the new site

When Web sites move, it can take a while for the Internet to figure it out, so I noticed on Friday that OU’s own network was still pointed to the old site (we’ll take that down in a few days). But if you’re reading this, you see our new site, powered by WordPress.

In addition to a modern design (it’s actually WordPress’s default theme, “Twenty Eleven,” which works very well for our purposes), there are lots of changes on the back end to make things easier for Rita and especially for me. That should make it easier for us to share pictures, files, and even audio and video on here.

The design should make the site easier to navigate and use. Even the search box (now at the top of the page) is fast and efficient. The pictures on each page are semi-random — each page is cached so the server can deliver it faster, and the pictures are picked randomly when the page is rebuilt. If you come back to a specific page after an hour or more, you may not see the same picture there. (If you have OUBAA pictures, own the rights to them, and they’re at least 1000 pixels wide by 300 pixels tall, let us know if you’d like them considered for rotation on the site’s pages!)

For most OUBAA members, the main new feature is that you don’t have to register to use the site. You can comment on any page without signing in; you just need to provide your name and E-mail address. (The latter is never displayed. In fact, we’ve added software so that even the E-mail addresses you read on here are scrambled to spambots trying to harvest them.) The URLs for each page make more sense. There are RSS feeds for both new content and for comments.

With the old site, we asked you to register because we have to protect intellectual property on some things—most importantly, on the music and rah-rahs we use at Homecoming. We limited access to registered members to control that. On the new site, we’ll put such things on pages protected by a password. When you register for Homecoming, we’ll send you the link and the password so you can get to the music and whatever else we have to share. (As of right now, that’s nothing—the Big 12 master schedule does have more kickoff times than we’ve put on the events calendar so far, but the homecoming game vs. Texas A&M is not one of them. And if you believe the rumors, it might be the last conference game against A&M anyway!)

The countdown timer to homecoming is in the right column on the home page. (The site knows when you’re on an iPad or smartphone and rearranges things—in that case, you’ll find the “right column” stuff at the very bottom of the page so you can read the news more easily.) When we have more info, we’ll stick it to the front of the home page similar to how we’ve done before. You can see the “Homecoming 2011” link in the menu underneath the big picture on every page, and that’ll take you to all the news as we post it, too.

That would include the upcoming newsletter, which your officers are worrying over even as you read this. We’ll have that available here when it’s done. We’ll have online registration though PayPal again. As with last year, the prices in the newsletter are for cash payments; online registration costs slightly more, about 3% rounded to make sense. This helps pay for PayPal’s service and leftover amounts go into the general fund. You can see the full report in the Spring 2011 Newsletter if you’re curious how last year’s funding turned out.

Meanwhile, it’s nearly football season! The other countdown shows that Pride auditions are on Monday and the band begins rehearsals Wednesday night. Three weeks from tonight, the drumline will be on the goal line waiting to start the 2011 season. It’s the first year without Nebraska and Colorado, and the changes may not be over yet. That’s all a level above the actual games, though, and they start very soon.

Do you like the new site? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Let us know! We worked on getting this all modernized (and bringing over the old content) for several weeks, so we hope you enjoy it!